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WIllmar • ACGC • BLHS • BBE • Benson • BOLD • Dawson-Boyd • Hancock • KMS • NLS • Lac Qui Parle Valley • Litchfield • Minnewaska Montevideo • Paynesville • Renville County West • MACCRAY • Morris/Chokio Alberta • Yellow Medicine East • CMCS

Cardinals retool team from back row forward By Tom Larson

Willmar will be building from the back row forward as the 2019 Cardinals look to equal or better their 22-8 mark and playoff run from a year ago. The Cardinals return with their three Defensive Specialists back from last year. Abby Stark (5-9, Jr., Libero) has been an all-conference Libero that last two seasons and is a North Dakota State commit. Stark set the Willmar school-record with 509 digs last season and she served 50 aces. Callie Slagter (5-6, Jr., DS) and Cambrie Parker (5-3, Sr., DS) both were all-conference Honorable Mention selections last season. Slagter had 189 digs and Parker had 160 digs. Up front, the Cardinals will be looking to replace established veterans Grace Marti, Caitlin Ogdahl and Sydney Olson. Setter Carly Wedel also graduated. Lydia Larson has experience in Wedel’s role and Bailey Olson had 79 kills last season. The Cardinals will need to further develop hitters Sophia Kobienia, returning starter Sydney Schnichels (6-3, Fr., OH), Abby Teisinger, Marissa Rosen and Madelyn Gregory, said head coach Stacy Grussing. “We should be very strong in the backcourt,” Grussing said. “To be successful, we need to develop new hitting leaders. Each has put in a lot of work in the offseason. Our goal will be to continue at the high level of play that Willmar teams have achieved the last few years and to be in the fight for conference and

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The Willmar Cardinals see players like Sophie Kobienia (1) and Abby Teisinger (3) taking on leadership roles at the net this season.

D2 Friday, August 30, 2019 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.


Three veteran starters hope to guide Falcons By Patrick Bernadeau

Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City’s last winning season came in the 2011, when the program enjoyed a 12-9 campaign. The team’s last postseason victory took place one year later. In their first season leading the Falcons, co-head coaches Quincy McNeil and Jamie Tanner look to rekindle prior success. The duo will take over for Micah Tolzien, who guided the team to a 3-18 record. Outside of a pair of tournament victories in early 2018, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City earned just one victory during the regular season. However, the losses have not quelled the team’s anticipation heading into 2019. “This summer there has been a good turnout at open gym. The girls have worked hard to better themselves and have shown that through their aggressive play each week,” said Tanner, who was an assistant coach for ACGC last season. “The excitement in the gym is contagious, making the coaches and players even more excited for the upcoming season.” Due to graduation, the Falcons loss two defensive specialists, a

libero and three hitters, which includes Lindsey Minnick, who paced the with 103 kills. ACGC will return three starters hoping to fill the voids. Senior middle hitter Shayna Hobson led the team in blocks in 2018, but the coaching staff will be reliant on more than just her defense. “She brings experience which will be beneficial to our offense this coming season,” Tanner said. “The coaches hope to see her aggressive play increase leading to more blocks and kills this season.” Utilizing her quickness on the floor from the libero position, fellow senior Jeana Denton paced the Falcons with 211 digs and earned All-Area Honorable Mention honors. “She brings unbelievable energy and hustle to our defense and we plan on seeing that again from her this season,” Tanner said of Denton. Senior Rachel Wilner is the team’s third returning starter. She plays the role of team leader from the setter and outside hitter positions. Noelle Dilley, Nicole Whitcomb, Brooke Schroeder, and Ericka Bagley are four additional seniors expected to contribute.

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Mustangs have experience to build around By Tom Larson

Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart will need to find successors for three starters but the Mustangs return with five solid players with starting experience to build around. Sara Kottke (5-9, Sr., MB) was a All-Tomahawk Conference Honorable Mention last season. She

had 165 kills, 31 blocks, 34 ace serves and 199 digs. Because of early season injuries, she also filled in at setter and finished with 60 set assists. “Sara should be one of the strongest hitters and blockers in the conference,” said head coach Lael Dornseif. Allison Dornseif (5-8, So., S) took over setting duties because

of injuries and played solid, finishing with 355 assists, 103 digs and served at 96 percent with 10 aces. Chloe Ufkes (5-5, Jr., OH) was a defensive specialist last season, along with Katie Buboltz (5-5, Jr., DS). Ufkes moves to the front row this season. “Both as very quick and have the ability to read hitters and

play great defense,” Lael Dornseif said. Marissa Ebbers (5-6, Sr., OH) is back as a starter after recording 64 kills, 214 digs and 23 ace serves last season. Tia Weispfennig (5-10, Jr., MH) and Jessica Novotny (5-4, Jr., OH/ RSH) will be looked at to take over starting jobs as Middle Blocker and Outside Hitter, Dornseif said.

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Jaguars ready to make another state run

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Karsee Kampsen (11) nearly topped 1,000 set assists for BBE last season, helping the Jaguars reach state.

By Tom Larson

BBE is back after 2018’s fourth-place finish in the Class A state tournament with a new head coach, Steve Waddell. The Jaguars have lost several key players from that 27-6 state-tourney team but still bring back big contributors that that team’s successes. Brittany Berge (5-11, Jr., MH) was second on the team last year with 264 kills and was among the team leaders in blocking and serving. Karsee Kampsen (5-8, Jr., S) set up many of those kills as the team’s primary setter. She finished last season with 956 set assists and she served at almost 96 percent with 32 aces. Grace Illies (5-9, Sr., OH) was a solid all-around performer, with 93 kills hitting at .241, and she also had 251 digs and 52 set assists. Emily Kern (5-4, So., L) will help anchor the defense. She

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had team-highs of 411 digs and 47 ace serves last season. Waddell also expects big things from Karissa Jones (5-9, Jr., MB) and Jenna Dingmann (5-8, Sr., OH). “BBE will play a very similar game as they did last season,” Waddell said. “We return a core of a very strong team. We will be looking to fill in for the losses to graduation, but this team has a lot going for them early in the season. We will fight for top spots in both the conference and the section again this season.”

BBE Libero Emily Kern led the Jaguars with 411 digs and 47 ace serves as a freshman last season.

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Braves eye a deep postseason run By Patrick Bernadeau If there’s one word to describe Benson’s 2018 campaign, streaky would come to mind. The Braves had separate losing stretches of seven and eight matches while also piling up three- and fourmatch winning streaks en route to an 8-15-1 record. The team collected a five-set triumph on the road over Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg in the opening round of the Section 5A postseason before falling in five sets to Royalton in the next round. “We are definitely looking to make a run at a section championship this season,” head coach Shannon Schmidt said. The Braves bring back eight of their top-nine regulars, including their top-4 scorers, from a year ago. The group is led by a pair of seniors who each honorable mentions on the Tribune’s All-Area team: Abbie Mitteness (libero) and Mariah Ahrndt (setter/

middle hitter). Using her quickness and defensive instincts, Mitteness flourished in her first full season at libero, piling up a team-high 391 digs. In her second season as a starter, Ahrndt filled up the statsheet, earning 87 kills, 24 aces and 14 solo blocks. She also had with 184 digs and 286 assists. “On our court, we rely on her to do it all,” Schmidt said of Ahrndt. “Her gymnastics background brings high energy, allowing her to play bigger than most 5-foot-7 players. This season, we look for Mariah to be one of our go-to hitters in the front row as well as doing some setting for us.” After pacing the Braves with 210 kills and 37 solo blocks last year, senior Clair Ricard (opposite hitter) is back, as is Abby Lundebrek (outside hitter) to help the offense. Zoe Doescher leads a strong junior class. She produced a team-high 50 aces in 2018. Fellow juniors Racher Berens (middle hitter), Beth Cain (outside hitter) and Ellie

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Benson’s Mariah Ahrndt (2) put up solid numbers — 286 assists and 87 kills — as a junior in 2018.

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Have a GREAT season!

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Captains look to carry BOLD in 2019 By Patrick Bernadeau

Seniors Makayla Snow (setter), Ashley Trongard (middle blocker) and Brenna Weis (libero) are BOLD’s mainstays from a squad that went 24-3 and earned the program’s first 20-win season since 2011. Each player is returning from excellent individual efforts last year. Snow, a three-time All-Conference selection who has twice been named the Conference’s MVP setter, racked 743 assists, 308 digs and paced the team with 41 aces. She also had 35 solo blocks, which Trongrad team-leading 43 rejections in the middle. Trongrad finished with 193 kills, 107 digs and 33 aces. Meanwhile, Weis did her damage in the back row, finishing with 427 digs, as well as 71 assists and 21 aces. However, with several losses to the roster, the trio will not only be called on to produce their usual production, but they will also serve as team captains. “We graduated nine seniors, but we bring back a great core of lead-

ers,” head coach Brittany Keltgen said. “The captains have big goals for the season and will be looking for help from some younger athletes.” Among the seniors that have graduated, Makenna Steffel is arguably the biggest loss. Now a freshman at Northern State University, Steffel collected an areahigh 377 kills, 314 digs, 32 blocks and 29 aces. Leslie Snow (So. outside hitter) and Mari Ryberg (Fr. outside hitter/middle blocker) will look to fill the void, offensely. Abby Meyers (So. middle blocker) and Caylee Weber (middle blocker/rear hitter) are other young players expected to contribute. Keltgen says those four players have shown great promise over the summer. “We will have a lot of girls in some new positions, and we will be very young, but these girls are so passionate about this game, improving, competing, and their team,” Keltgen said. “We are looking forward to another tough conference and section, and we cannot wait to get back out on the floor.”

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BOLD’s Ashley Trongard had 193 kills, 107 digs and 33 service aces for the Warriors last season.

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Blackjacks pin hopes on five returners By Patrick Bernadeau Dawson-Boyd will feature five returning starters from a team that went in 7-18 under first-year head coach Andrea Lee. In her second season leading the Blackjacks, Lee will rely on those returners as the program looks for its first winning-season since 2014. After earning a spot on the Tribune All-Area team as an honorable mention last year, Avery Bartunek (middle hitter) headlines the group of kids coming back. As a junior, she collected 149 kills, 191 digs, 20 aces and 11 solo blocks. “Avery is a player to watch because she is an all around player on the court and is a leader on and off of the court,” Lee said.

Mary Bothun also received All-Area recognition as a hitter, but she will not return after graduating last year. In her place, Megan Mamer (senior middle hitter) will sure up the front row while Karoline Dahl (junior outside hitter) is capable of playing the front and the back. Lee describes as a “very smart player” and someone who has a “strong sense of the sport.” Amelia Olson and Tarah Johnson are the last two returning starters and are each listed as a defensive specialist. Olson will be a senior while Johnson is a player to watch as she begins her sophomore campaign. “As a younger player on the court, she is one of the smartest girls on our team in volleyball,” Lee said of Johnson. “She knows how to read hitters and is very consistent with her passing.”

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First-year head coach sees Owls’ potential By Tom Larson

First-year Hancock head coach Kortney Ejnik won’t have an experienced group coming back this season, but versatility will be a key component for the Owls. Senior Miranda Chamberlain can play multiple positions, and sophomores Alexis Staples and Carlee Hanson both are versatile assets that can be used all over the court,

giving the Owls time to develop untested varsity players. “Every year is a building year as we look to improve on the skills and play from the previous year,” said Ejnik. “Players look to find their roles on the court and on the team. I see a lot of potential in these players and I think we are going to make some huge improvements this year. We are excited about the upcoming season.”

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Hancock’s Alexis Staples reaches to tip a shot over an opponent’s out-stretch block attempt during a 2018 match.

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Hancock’s Alexis Staples uses both hands in an attempt to re-direct a shot during a match last season.

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Saints working to replace key players By Tom Larson

It’s tough enough to lose four key players, KMS comes into 2019 without two outside hitters, the Saints’ setter and their libero. But the Saints have solid players returning to hopefully build on last year’s 16-win effort. Lauren Krieger (5-4, junior, hitter) was second on the team with 220 kills last season and she also had 97 digs and 13 ace serves. “(Krieger) can hit with both arms and places the ball very well,” said KMS head coach Joquel Molenaar. Halie Nichols (5-1, junior, libero) has two all-conference Honorable Mention selections the last two years and her 688 career digs rank fourth

among KMS’ all-time leaders. She’s also served 80 career aces. “(Nichols) will likely earn the libero jersey this year,” Molenaar said. Haylee Johnson (5-6, senior, hitter) was third on the team with 158 kills last season, and she also contributed 19 blocks, 23 ace serves and 107 digs. “Haylee has a very quick arm swing and she is very quick to get up and block,” Molenaar said. Makenna Kelley (5-7, junior, hitter) will be counted on to step into a major role at the net after the graduations of Lydia Wagner and Lexy Swanson. “Makenna is incredibly gifted athletically,” Molenaar said. “She can jump and swing very hard.”

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KMS’s Lauren Krieger unleashes a serve during one of the Saints’ matches last season.

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KMS’s Haylee Johnson (12), shown on a block attempt last season, had 158 kills for the Saints a year ago.

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Wildcats return plenty of depth By Patrick Bernadeau Struggling out of the gate in 2018, New London-Spicer will look to get off on the right foot in 2019. Although they were 7-4 through four regular season tournaments, the Wildcats dropped nine of its first 10 regular season matches. Even with the slow start, NLS outpointed their opponents over the course of the year. If can the team get off to a better start, it will likely be due the play several impactful returners. Ashlyn Olson leads a talented group of juniors from the rear hitter position. She collected team highs in kills (265), kill percentage and blocks (76) last season. Fellow juniors Kendra Bagley and Aleah Zieske (outside hitters) were second and third on the team in kills, respectively.

Zieske was also second in plus-minus for the Wildcats, only behind junior middle hitter Ava Kramer. “With many returning starters, we are looking to build on what we have started the last two seasons,” said Erin Schoumaker, who is entering her fifth year as head coach. “(I’m) looking forward to seeing what this group can do.” As part of six graduating seniors, Hunter Paffrath logged a team-high 393 assists. Seniors Presley Arndt-Callenius and Sophia Austvold will take charge of setting up the offense. Arndt-Callenius tallied 297 helpers during her junior campaign. On defense, junior Mya Krause will utilize her quickness to slide into libero in place of Emily Novak. Novak was second last season digs and time of the floor; fellow graduate Ashton Engelke was first in both categories. West Central Tribune

New London-Spicer hitter Ashlyn Olson (9) unloads a shot during a match last season.

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New London-Spicer setter Presley Arndt-Callenius had 297 set assists during the 2018 season.

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New London-Spicer middle hitter Aleah Zieske celebrates a shot with teammates during a 2018 match.

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Eagles intent on rising up Camden standings By Joe Brown

Following a 4-26 campaign in 2018, Lac qui Parle Valley will rely on a new head coach to pull the Eagles out of the Camden Conference cellar. Molly Hennen takes over the program after serving as an assistant coach last year. She has familiarity with the Camden Conference after being a high-school standout at powerhouse Minneota. “My goal is to have more success this volleyball season when it comes to wins and losses,” Hennen said. “I hope to get a couple wins under our belt right away so that it gives girls the confidence to work hard and know that they can do it as long as they were willing to put forth the effort. We haven’t been that successful in the past so I hope that I can change that mentality and we keep improving over the course of the season.” Hennen continued, “We have a lot of talent but we just need to put it together in order to be a successful team.” Four seniors are back in starting roles in libero Sidney Gerdes, right-side hitter Josie Munsterman, outside hitter

Ashlynn Wittnebel and middle hitter Kali Sulier. “Sidney and Ashlynn are both really good leaders on the floor,” Hennen said. “Sidney is very quick defensively and gets a lot of balls up to our setter. … Ashlynn has also improved a lot from last year and makes some really good plays at the net. She is a positive role model for many players. “Kali is another big weapon in the front row. She is a really good blocker and gets a lot of touches on balls when blocking. She also is one of our key hitters when she is in the front. … Josie made it to state for high jump in track and she is very strong. She has some powerful hits and is a very scrappy player (in the) back row. She makes some incredibly smart plays.” Along with the 5-foot-9 Munsterman, Sulier (5-10) and sophomore outside hitter Tori Bungarden (5-8) offer some size at the net. Munsterman makes the switch to the right side after playing setter last year. Sophomore Tayler Kittelson is set to be this year’s setter. Junior Macie Lund will also help anchor the back row with Gerdes as a defensive specialist.

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Lac qui Parle Valley’s Sidney Gerdes is one of four Eagles seniors back in starting roles this season.

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Youthful, experienced Dragons could be tough By Tom Larson

Possessing relative youth and experience makes a volleyball team tough to beat and Litchfield has that quality entering the 2019 season. Colby Christensen, a 5-foot-10 middle hitter, is the lone senior among the Dragons’ five returning starters from last season’s 12-win team. Christensen led the team with 183 kills and 56 total blocks and she will be joined in the front row by Lily Osterberg (5-6, Jr., OH) and Sydney McCann (5-7, Jr., OH). Osterberg was second on the team with 151 kills last season and McCann was right behind

her with 150. McCann also served at 95 percent last season and had 23 aces and accounted for 162 service points. Both played all 90 sets last season. Kristin Foley (5-5, Jr., S) split setting roles last year and had 281 set assists, an average of 3.1 per set. She also served 23 aces and had 150 digs. Kamri Driver (5-4, Jr., DS) also returns as a starter. Driver had 279 digs and served 28 aces, accounting for 142 service points. “We return a lot of experience and will look to compete in a very competitive Wright County Conference,” said head coach Darin Swenson. “Anchored by defense and a more powerful offense, we are looking to make a deep run in the Section 3AA tournament.”

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Litchfield’s Lily Osterberg (2) and Colby Christensen celebrate a point during one of the Dragons’ 2018 matches.



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West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Friday, August 30, 2019 D13


Will added experience pay off for the Lakers? By Patrick Bernadeau

Minnewaska made strides in the first year under head coach Michele Johnson. In the two seasons prior to Johnson took over, Minnewaska won a total of nine matches. Replacing long-time head coach Linda Mills, Johnson, who previously spent 28 seasons on the bench for Alexandria, led Minnewaska to a 9-15 record. The team was in line for its first 10-win campaign in since 2012, but it dropped its last five matches of 2018. With the majority of the roster returning in 2019, Johnson and the Lakers have reason to be optimistic. Minnewaska did lose Sierra

Lindermann (rear hitter), Sydney Metz (defensive specialist) and Emily Harste (middle hitter), but the team will bring back plenty of players who’ve had varsity time on the floor. Ellie Danielson (middle hitter), Emma Thorfinnson (outside hitter), and Alexia Piekarski (outside hitter) headline the senior class, while Kristen Glover (libero) and Avery Hoeper (middle hitter) are a part of a talented junior class. “Returning juniors and sophomores will bring experience to the court,” Johnson said. “They all have gained more experience in their (Junior Olympic) seasons; Ellie Danielson played for the Kandi Elite and the rest playing together on the Waska Wave.”

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Avery Hoeper (6) is one of a talented group of juniors who will play big roles for Minnewaska this season.

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Minnewaska’s Emma Thorfinnson, serving in a match during the 2018 season, is one of the Lakers’ top hitters back this year.

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Thunder Hawks tackle roster turnover Kat Knudsen. In total, the Thunder Hawks will need to fill the void of eight players six other seniors who helped formed the majority of the starting lineup. Montevideo returns three starters in Livia Gades (junior outside hitter), Megan Anderson (junior rear hitter) and Jasmyn Kronbach (senior outside hitter). Those three will serve as the core of a team in transition. “With an eager, new coaching staff and young athletes, Montevideo will be looking to build a strong program for the future,” Palmer remarked. Palmer will be joined on the bench by Kelly Bednar, Kristin Koenen and Joanna Magnuson.

By Patrick Bernadeau

After serving as an assistant under Stephanie Hennen, Ashley Palmer takes over the reigns of the Montevideo volleyball program. Coming off a season where the Thunder Hawks were 9-19, Palmer biggest challenge in her first year will be retooling a roster that was decimated by graduation. Cali Christianson (outside hitter) and Noelle Sulflow (setter) were versatile players who received Honorable Mention honors on the Tribune’s All-Area team. Those two are gone, along with regular contributors Sydney Zindel, McKenzie Hoidal, Maddie Killabarda,

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Jasmyn Kronback (9) is one of three starters back for first-year Montevideo head coach Ashley Palmer.


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Montevideo outside hitter Jasmyn Kronback rises up for a block attempt in a 2018 match against Benson.

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Up-and-coming players form Bulldogs’ core By Tom Larson

Paynesville enters 2019 with a nice core of up-and-coming players from a team that was 19-5 and advanced to the second round of the tough Section 3AA playoffs a year ago. While front row players Brynn Johnson (5-7, Jr., MB), Sammy Pederson (5-10, Sr., MB) and Harley Kunstleben (5-9, Sr, OH/RSH) did

get a lot of swings last season, they did put up some numbers. Johnson had 52 kills and 57 total blocks and Kunstleben had 45 kills. Pederson finished the year with 17 kills and 51 total blocks, second on the team behind Johnson. Madi Leyendecker (5-6, Jr., S) split setting duties with Jenna Lundquist last season and she ended the season with 318 assists (Lundquist had 353) and she also served 34 aces.

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Paynesville\’s Abby Schaefer (12) and Brynn Johnson (3) celebrate a point with teammates during a 2018 match.

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Paynesville outside hitter Abby Schaefer jump serves during a match last season.

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Jaguars aiming for healthy second half By Tom Larson

Renville County West will be dealing with players returning from injury early in the season, but head coach Deanne Flom likes how the Jaguars could round into shape as the year progresses. Katie Marr (5-10, Sr., MB) is recovering from a broken finger and Vanessa Savig (5-4, Sr., L) has an elbow injury. Reilly Elfering (5-11, Jr., MB) is working back from knee surgery and may not be available until the second half of the season. Lauren Wulf (5-1, Sr., S) will be the team leader. She had more than 500 set assists and notched 31 blocks and 33 service aces last year.

“We will definitely be running a more advanced offense with Wulf being at the helm of the team,” Flom said. “Her experience and knowledge to challenge our hitters is great.” When they return, Marr brings back 73 kills and 63 total blocks from last season, and Savig was the team’s leader with 429 digs and 35 ace serves. Hannah Pharr (6-3, So., MB) and Lauren Allex (5-9, Sr., OH) will play crucial roles this season, Flom said. “I think once everyone is back (from injury), we will be a great contender to give a run for wins,” Flom said. “We are developing as a team the concept of how to play as a team and trust your teammates.”

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Renville County West\’s Katie Marr (9), shown in a 2018 match at RCW, is recovering from a broken finger at the beginning of this year.

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Renville County West setter Lauren Wulf had 500 set assists, 31 blocks and 33 ace serves in 2018.

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West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Friday, August 30, 2019 D17


Wolverines aim to fill two big voids By Patrick Bernadeau

Despite not reaching the 20-win mark for the first time since 2015, MACCRAY put together a solid season with a 16-14 record in 2018, including a 12-7 mark against section opponents. However, heading into 2019, the Wolverines will have two major holes to fill. After strong statistical seasons last year, middle hitter Piper Asche and outside hitter Danni Burns are each continuing their volleyball careers at the collegiate level. Earning her second consecutive appearance to the Tribune All-Area first team after a senior season where she surpassed the 1,000kill mark, Asche is beginning her freshman campaign at Augustana University. Meanwhile, Burns is at Dakota Wesleyan University after totaling 351 digs, 254 kills, 82 assists and 39 aces during her senior year.

With two heavy hitters out of the picture, MACCRAY will look to others to perform in the always competitive Camden Conference. “Aggressive consistent play will be key for us this coming season,” said Terese Bourne, who enters her 18th year as head coach. “The team will defend well and aim to have consistency in hitting at the net.” The Wolverines will return four starters in Kate Hultgren (senior setter/defensive specialist), Annie Dykema (senior outside hitter), Kylee Kimpling (sophomore middle hitter) and Sydney Thein (freshman setter). Additionally, Abigail Pieper (senior defensive specialist), Jaimi Heida (senior defensive specialist), Gracie Slagter (senior middle hitter), JoAnna Johnson (junior outside hitter) and Gabby Randt (sophomore middle hitter) are among the others who are expected to contribute.

West Central Tribune

MACCRAY senior Defensive Specialist Abigail Pieper hits a serve during one of the Wolverines’ 2018 matches.


West Central Tribune

MACCRAY Defensive Specialist Kate Hultgren gets low to dig up a shot during one of the Wolverines’ 2018 matches.





D18 Friday, August 30, 2019 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.


Trio of regulars back to lead Tigers By Tom Larson

Morris/Chokio-Alberta will need to replace some exceptional players from last year’s 19-8 team that won three Section 3AA matches before losing in the section final to Class AA state runner-up Marshall. The Tigers lost key starter Bailey Marty, Riley Decker, Jen Solvie and

Liz Dietz. But Morris/CA still has solid regular back, including hitters Lexi Pew and McKenzie Hockel and setter LaRae Kram. “These three players, along with others on the court, are great communicators and will make some great things happen throughout the season,” said first-year head coach Leah Peterson.

Brooke Kern / Forum News Service

Morris/Chokio-Alberta’s LaRae Kram (4) will take on a larger role as setter for the Tigers in 2019.


Brooke Kern / Forum News Service

Morris/Chokio-Alberta hitter Lexi Pew (9) will be counted on as a leader after the Tigers lost key starters to graduation.

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West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn. — Friday, August 30, 2019 D19


Sting rebuilding behind solid starters By Tom Larson

Alyssa Johnson will face a tough task in her first year at Yellow Medicine East head coach, retooling a team that was 19-6 overall and 10-1 in the conference last season. The Sting will rebuild behind two solid starters, seniors Madison Hinz and Abby Jaenisch, after losing venerable veterans like Meeghan Dahlager and Kenzie Dyrdahl. Hinz is now in her fifth varsity season as a setter. “The way she sees leads, sees the floor and controls our offense will continue to be a strength of ours,” said Johnson, who has been with

the Sting program for six years. “This will be Abby’s fourth year playing at the varsity level as a defensive specialist and now libero. Her serve receive and defensive ability will help us greatly again this season.” Juniors Jadyn Sakry and Alli Steffen, sophomores Anayansi Flores, Lily Jaenisch and Alexis Smith will be counted on to play key roles this season, as will Sydnee Skjefte and freshman Shelby Mortenson. “I have a positive outlook for the upcoming season,” Johnson said. “With hard work and commitment from the girls, I think we’ll continue to improve each week and hopefully reach our full potential come playoff time.”

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Yellow Medicine East setter Madison Hinz lines up a serve during one of the Sting’s 2018 matches last fall. Girls Volleyball

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Yellow Medicine East setter Madison Hinz is one of two senior starters back for first-year head coach Alyssa Johnson.

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D20 Friday, August 30, 2019 — West Central Tribune — Willmar, Minn.


Bluejays link expectations to experience, athleticism By Patrick Bernadeau

Central Minnesota Christian earned a slew of state championships at the turn of the century and produced a number of winning seasons throughout this decade. Now, the program is trying to recapture the magic that it saw through periods of the last 20 years. Following a three-win campaign in 2017, the Bluejays bumped their win total to seven under head coach Jill Haan. Haan, who will be entering her fourth season as head coach with CMCS, preached consistency and competitiveness to her squad last year. The results were mixed, as all but one of the team’s 23 defeats were sweeps. However, when the Bluejays were in a match, they showed mental toughness, as all of their victories were decided in the final set, including a 3-2 triumph over Dawson-Boyd in the opening round of the 3A section postseason. The team will be shooting for more

in 2019. “We will be the most experienced team we have had in the last three years,” Haan said. “We are young, athletic, and competitive.” The Blue Jays will return five starters, two of which are seniors. Emma Van Dyken is back and will contribute from the middle. She has made strides as a middle hitter and is expected to be a major contributor to the team’s attack and block. Elli Stoel use to play the middle but she’ll be transitioning to the outside for her senior campaign. “We moved Elli to the outside this year where I believe she will find more success. She controls the ball well in both hitting and passing,” Haan said. “This year, we will rely on her serve. She has a touch floater in which she led the team in ace serves last year.” Other players to watch include junior Torri Muzik (defensive specialist), sophomore Coco Duininck (setter) and sophomore Molly Mulder (outside hitter).

West Central Tribune

Central Minnesota Christian School setter Coco Duininck (2) and hitter Torri Muzik (12) are two experienced players back for the Bluejays in 2019.


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2019 Volleyball Preview  

Previews and photos from all the west central area teams, as published by the West Central Tribune in Willmar, Minn.

2019 Volleyball Preview  

Previews and photos from all the west central area teams, as published by the West Central Tribune in Willmar, Minn.